Don't ruin your gourmet
coffee with improper storage.
You just purchased some freshly ground coffee at the grocery store and you
are getting ready to open it and have yourself a fresh cup of coffee. What should
I do with the newly opened bag of coffee? Store it in its
original bag or put it in an air tight jar? Maybe all I
need to do is put it in a paper or plastic bag. Should I refrigerate or
freeze my coffee? Does it
matter if it's whole bean coffee or ground coffee? These
are the questions that most new coffee buyers ask or at
least they should ask if they care about the taste and quality of the coffee
they drink. You can take the best coffee in the world and store it
improperly for a month in a glass jar on your kitchen window sill in the sun
and now you have a crappy tasting coffee. Sorry for saying it that way but
it's the truth and I do believe I got my point across to you.
Now that I got your attention I'll go on. Really the answers vary widely,
depending on what form your coffee is in.
Green Coffee Beans
The green coffee beans store the
best. If they are stored in the refrigerator or some
cool location and placed in a tightly sealed container,
they can last over a year. Even after a year or more
they will still produce a flavorful and aromatic cup of
coffee. The biggest problem with green beans is that
there is more work involved to turn them into a cup of
coffee. First you will have to roast them and then grind
them. The average coffee drinker does not have the
equipment to roast the green coffee beans and many don't
even have a grinder to grind the whole beans. Green
beans are also harder to find and usually come in larger
quantities. Some quality coffee shops and online
coffee shops sell them, but your local grocery stores
usually don't. I still see some local grocery stores
carrying the roasted whole beans with the grinder there
so you can get fresh ground coffee. I love the great
smell of fresh ground coffee, it's the best!
Roasted Whole Bean
The next best way to store coffee
is to store it "already roasted" but in the whole bean
form. Grinding your own beans is pretty simple and will
be worth the little extra effort it takes. Roasted whole
bean will last 1 to 2 weeks when stored at room
temperature. You should keep it in an airtight container
that blocks the light. Plastic or metal containers like
aluminum canisters may contaminate the taste of your
coffee so try to use ceramic if possible. A dark glass
container will also work well but if one is not
available and all you have is the clear glass container
just try to keep it in a dark cupboard.
One other thing to consider is
the gas roasted beans create. It is best to vent off the
carbon dioxide gas for the first few days by opening up
your coffee container each day for a few seconds.
Another alternative is to use valve bags. These are bags
with little one-way valves in them to allow CO2 to
escape but don't allow oxygen in. The downfall is that
these bags are hard to find and a little expensive.
If you can't use up your whole
bean coffee in 2 weeks, then you should freeze it.
Coffee stored this way will last about a month or two.
Wrap it up in several layers of plastic wrap, or use an
airtight container with as much air removed as possible.
Once your beans have been frozen and thawed, do not
refreeze them. It's best to just take out the beans you
need and then put the bag back into the freezer. There
is no need to thaw them out before grinding. Frozen
beans will grind up just fine.
Don't compromise your coffee
beans by storing in the refrigerator. That is probably
the worst place for your coffee as it is not cold enough
to prevent your coffee from going stale. There is also
the possibility that your coffee will pick up flavors
and odors of other stuff stored in the refrigerator.
The last kind of coffee we cover
is probably the most widely used which is roasted and
ground. This is the most volatile form of coffee and
isn't good for storage beyond a few days after opening.
Many companies vacuum seal the coffee just after it is
ground in very air tight containers to keep it as fresh
as possible from manufacturer to grocery store and then
to you. Some coffee companies will flush the bags with
nitrogen to get the oxygen out instead of vacuum sealing
them. After you open the bag, try to use an
air-tight and light-proof container to store the coffee
in. Once a bag is opened it's best to use it up in a
week or two as it will go stale fairly fast.
Good coffee is fresh coffee! Only
buy what you need and can use up fairly fast.
Single serve Coffee
Single serve coffee that
is actual ground coffee usually comes in its own
container and is not opened and used until it is time to
make a cup of coffee. Store it in its original container
in a cool dry place to keep its freshness for a long
time. Most single serve packages are flushed with
nitrogen or vacuumed packed for freshness.
Oh,,, I forgot to mention instant coffee. It will never
be fresh as it is made from all the rejected beans that
nobody wanted in the first place.
Ten month old
coffee taste test:
With all this said and done I'm going to contradict myself a little by
saying that I have some coffee here at home that I forgot about for over 10
months. The coffee was ground coffee in its original air tight bag sitting
in my closet. I opened the bag and made the coffee just as I normally do and
to my surprise it tasted just as if it just came from the manufacturer I
purchase some of my coffee from. I decided then to do a side by side taste
test with some of the same coffee that I just received. The fresh from the
roaster coffee had just a little more flavor than the 10 month old coffee.
So I decided to just add a little more grounds to the old coffee and that
seemed to boost the flavor up some to where it came close to the fresh
coffee. I admit that the coffee was a little stale but not enough for me not
to drink it or for someone else to even notice the difference.